Why Is Your Dog’s Nose Turning Pink – Is It a Health Problem & How to Care For It?

Perhaps you are curious to find out why your dog’s nose is turning into a pink color. Some dog owners think that this could be the sign of a health problem, while others think that it is actually ‘cute’ to look at. To enlighten dog owners like you regarding the pink-nose issue, this article will provide more information about it and let you know if it is something that you should worry about.

A Short Glance at Dogs with Pink Nose:

  • Your dog’s nose can change color as a result of climate change
  • Your dog’s nose can become pink as a result of aging
  • Your dog’s nose can become pink as a result of injury
  • Your dog’s nose can change into a pink color due to bacterial infection
  • Your dog’s nose can become pink as a result of an auto-immune virus.

Those are just some of the possible reasons why the color of your dog’s nose may have changed to pink.

An In-depth Discussion about Dogs with Pink Nose:

The pigmentation of your dog’s nose is determined by various factors such as genes. Depending on the breed, some dogs have black or liver-colored noses, and others have noses the same color as their coats. But what does it really mean when your dog’s nose is turning into the color pink? Here are the reasons why:

1. Climate Change: One of the most common reasons behind this coloration is the change in temperature. At the onset of winter, some dogs exhibit a change of nose color to pink. This condition is also referred to as “winter or snow nose”. The nose goes back to its original color once summer sets in, though. If winter is the only reason for the change in color, then you have nothing to worry about.

The main reason why your dog’s nose turns into a pink color at wintertime is an enzyme called Tyrosinase, which produces melanin or pigment. This enzyme is sensitive to cold temperature; as a result, it decreases the production of melanin or pigment during the cold months.

This “winter or snow nose” condition is commonly seen in Bernese Mountain Dogs, Retrievers, Huskies and Shepherds.

2. Aging: The process of aging has an influence on the color of your dog’s nose. As your dog advances in age, the enzyme which is responsible for producing pigments begins to lessen its production. As a result, the color of your dog’s nose slowly turns into pink. This is a normal process and does not require any medical attention.

3. Allergy: If your dog gets sick due to allergies or maybe it is experiencing some forms of trauma, the nose can also temporarily change into a pink color. Some dogs are sensitive to plastic food bowls, and if they keep on using these plastic food and water bowls, skin irritation will occur.

Eventually, your dog’s nose will become pink as a result of skin irritation, or in medical terms, will contact dermatitis or plastic dish nasal dermatitis. The culprit is the chemical which is found in plastic, called p-benzyl hydroquinone. If this chemical gets into the skin, it results in loss of pigments or inhibition of melanin.

By changing the plastic food and water bowl of your pooch, its pink nose will be cured.

4. Bacterial Infection: Your dog can contract skin bacterial infections that affect the skin on the nose. The infection can affect the bridge of the nose as well as the smooth portion of your dog’s nose. One of the common symptoms of bacterial infection is a light or pink coloration of the pooch’s nose.

At times, dogs have the tendency to scrape their noses; as a result, you will see shades of pink especially a day to two after they have injured themselves. This will have no effect at all on the overall health of your pooch and should go away once the wound has healed.

The only way to find out if a bacterial infection is the reason behind your dog’s pink nose is through a medical examination. If the cause is bacterial, antibiotics will be prescribed. Once your dog recovers from the infection, the color of the nose will go back to the way it normally is.

5. Dudley Nose: This is also called nasal de-pigmentation. In this case, no apparent cause has been found as to why a dog’s nose may be turning into a pink color. A puppy may have a black nose, but as it grows older, its nose will begin to lighten until it becomes pink. As long as the vet does not find any medical condition associated with a pink nose, then there is nothing to worry about.

Other Reasons for Dogs with Pink Nose:

There are auto-immune diseases that can affect the color of a dog’s nose. These cases require medical attention. Examples are:

1. Vitiligo: This is an auto-immune disease which leads to a pink nose in dogs. Other signs of Vitiligo include white patches or hairs all over the dog’s body. The reason behind this is that the body produces antibodies that fight the pigments in the dog’s body. These antibodies kill the cells that cause the loss of color in the nose and hair of the dog.

In order to find out if Vitiligo is the reason behind a dog’s pink nose, the vet will perform a biopsy.

There are certain dog breeds that are prone to contracting this auto-immune disease. These are the Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Doberman, and Dachshund dog breeds. Though the overall health is not affected by this auto-immune disease, there are nutritional supplements that can be given in order to restore pigmentation. Vitiligo is not a fatal condition in dogs.

2. Pemphigus: This is another type of auto-immune disease which affects the skin. There are three causes of Pemphigus. The first is called endogenous, which is caused by factors within the dog’s body itself, such as genetic predisposition. The second one is called exogenous and is caused by external factors that trigger skin inflammation. The last one is caused by reactions from certain medicines.

Veterinary care is required if the reason of the pink nose in your dog is pemphigus. Treatments involve corticosteroids and immunosuppressive medicines. Most dogs respond well to medication.

3. Lupus Erythematous: This is another form of auto-immune condition which results in the pink color of the dog’s nose. In this case, it is the dog’s own immune system that is responsible for attacking the tissues. Dog breeds which are known to be affected are Collies, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Beagles, Afghan Hounds, Chow Chows, and Shetland Sheepdogs.

4. Uveodermatological syndrome (UDS): In this case, the cells of the affected dog attack the melanocytes, or the melanin-forming cells. Since melanin is what gives color to the skin and nose, then a dog with this condition will have a pink nose.

How to Care for a Dog with Pink Nose?

Not all cases of pink nose require medical attention. If the cause is allergies from using plastic food and water bowls, then the only solution is to shift to ceramic, stoneware or stainless-steel food and water bowls for your dog. If the cause is the change of temperature, then you just have to wait for summer to come, and soon you’ll find that your pooch’s nose is reverting to its original color.

When going outdoors, it is highly recommended that you apply sunscreen on your dog’s nose prior to sun exposure. Dogs with a pink nose are more prone to cancer, and the best way to avoid it is by using a dog-specific sunscreen. Do not use your own sunscreen, instead buy the ones which are made specifically for dogs. Examples of dog sunscreens are:

A change in your dog’s diet will also help. When shifting to new dog food, read the label and be sure that that particular food has ingredients that will increase the levels of tyrosinase in your pooch’s body. As mentioned earlier, tyrosinase is responsible for pigmentation. Examples of such foods are beef, cheese, soy products, lamb, and seafood like salmon.

If the cause of your dog’s pink nose is an auto-immune viral disease, a regular check-up is required. Dogs that suffer from auto-immune diseases may require lifelong medical care.

When to See a Vet?

Most cases of pink nose in dogs are not serious or life-threatening. But there are cases when the pink nose in a dog could be the symptom of a serious health problem. To find out when you should consult the vet, watch out for the following signs, as they may accompany the pink nose:

Are there Vegetables that Fight against Pink Nose in Dogs?

You can add some fresh vegetables to your dog’s diet to increase the levels of melatonin. Those which are high in vitamin B-complex can help. Examples of such fruits are fresh carrots, broccoli, asparagus, and pumpkin.

What Dog Breeds Have Pink Noses?

There are a few dog breeds which have pink noses all their lives. This means that factors such as weather and age have nothing to do with the color of their noses. Dalmatians, Bull Terriers, Boxers, and Heelers are known for their pink noses. It is also possible to spot a pink nose in the ChowChow and Sharpei breeds.

Regular Check-ups of the Dog’s Nose:

Checking your dog’s nose should be part of your grooming routine. Being familiar with your dog’s nose will make it easier for you to recognize any changes. Signs such as nasal discharge and foul smell could point to an illness. Changes in its color may also be a symptom.

Conclusion:

Most cases of pink nose in dogs are harmless and do not require veterinary care. As long as your pooch is behaving in its usual ways and there is no sign of loss of appetite, then all is well. On the other hand, if the nose is blistered, dry or chapped, then there could be an underlying problem that you.

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